The east coast of Australia had a James Bond moment “shaken not stirred” this morning. Bricks and mortar were tested, glass panes rattled as people scrambled outside. Life felt out of sync for 20 seconds with unexpected movements that we grappled to make sense of. Phoning friends and loved ones to confirm that it was an earthquake and everyone was ok. As a scientist I look for numbers to explain phenomenon so it was comforting to be told that we had encountered a level 5.8 earthquake. Facts not feelings were shared by journalists and finally social media satisfied my need for relevant information. And of course a phone call from my absent partner confirming my experience of this rare event, along with the harmonic vibrations of the roof tiles over my head, swaying of indoor plants on the window ledge and tinkling of my favourite mirror glass wall hanging.
I was lucky enough not to miss this infrequent event. Australia is not known for its earthquakes being a southern continent sprawled safely in the middle centrally of a stable tectonic plate. Funny how my brain immediately went to the geology unit I had just finished teaching and I wondered if my year 8 students remembered their continental drift theory.
Once the Australian tectonic plate was fused with the Indian South African and Antarctic plates knowns as the ancient continent of Gondwana. Australia sits on one of the fastest moving continental plates in the world and although we cannot feel it we are travelling north at a speed of 7cm/year. We are on a collision course with the Pacific plate and like every collision there is going to be damage at the plate boundary in the future but that’s a long time coming. Humans may not be around to see what the new supercontinent “Aurica” but we can be confident that Australia will still exist at its centre.
Rattling the Effects of Repression
Always looking for the positive “take away” from any situation I liked the disruption caused by this earthquake. The best outcome for today was the disruption to daily news items on mandatory vaccinations, tradies marching, construction protests and conversations about Melbourne being the most locked down city in the world. Perhaps we need more of todays dynamic earth interruptions to take us outside our inner problems. It reminds me that there are greater forces at play in the world than protesting anything to do with COVID. Humans exist on earth for a relatively short period of time so we should not be squandering precious moments with pettiness and fear.
On the wall in the far corner of a room cluttered with books and pictures is a long forgotten poster called Desiderata. The poem that got me through my troubled 20’s. Its starts with the sentence “Go placidly amid the noise and haste and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant, they too have their story”. There are many more enlightened verses for you to google for yourself but the ending goes “strive to be happy”
Today started with an Earthquake for breakfast. Heading to the freezer I pull out some comfort food to reset my day so it’s Macaroni Cheese balls for brunch. On the subject of food I am committed to having Butter Chicken for dinner paired with a gin lime gimlet the old fashioned way!